The Toronto International Film Festival is upon us, and with it flurries of announcements like the snows of the Canadian summer (or something), with new projects being lined up for original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” director Niels Arden Oplev, an Elvis Presley biopic for “Last King of Scotland” director Kevin MacDonald, the “We’re the Millers” team of Sean Anders and John Morris, “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” director J. Blakeson, while a big screen adaptation of Emma Donoghue‘s best-selling coming-of-age novel “Room” inches closer to fruition.
First off, Kevin MacDonald, who tackled real world drama with “Last King of Scotland” and is a notable documentarian whose latest feature-length documentary, “Marley,” about influential reggae musician Bob Marley, opened last year, will once again draw from true life for “Last Train to Memphis.” The Fox 2000-produced biopic is based on the 1995 biography by Peter Guralnick, following a transformative early years. The film will be produced by Mick Jagger, who MacDonald worked with on “Being Mick,” a fly-on-the-wall documentary MacDonald directed in 2001.
In slightly lighter news, Sean Anders and John Morris, who penned this summer’s surprise comedy hit “We’re the Millers,” have lined up their next project: New Line Cinema‘s “Horrible Bosses 2.” Anders, who directed “Sex Drive” and the infamous Adam Sandler dud “That’s My Boy,” will direct, while Morris will join the project as a producer (the duo were also responsible for a heavy rewrite of the first draft by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein). Original director Seth Gordon had been developing the sequel to the 2011 film but left earlier this summer due to unspecified “scheduling conflicts.” Upcoming projects for the pair include “Mean Moms” for New Line and “Dumb and Dumber To” for Universal.
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Hot off directing the pilot for this summer’s terrific CBS limited series “Under the Dome” (based on the Stephen King novel of the same name), Niels Arden Oplev, who made the Swedish “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” film and subsequently continued his collaboration with original ‘Girl’ Noomi Rapace on this side of the Atlantic by directing her in year’s weirdly overlooked “Dead Man Down” is headed back to Denmark to shoot “Racewalking.” The movie is an adaptation of Morten Kirkskov‘s novel of the same name, which told the story of a village in ’70s Denmark falling apart after a woman’s death unleashes a series of terrible events. Supposedly the film will draw on Scandinavia’s small but deep pool of performers by using actors from “Borgen” and “The Killing.” Sounds appropriately chilly, too.
Meanwhile, a deal has been signed for “Room,” which is, sadly, not a remake of Tommy Wiseau‘s legendary masterwork, but rather an adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel about a boy raised with his mother in a tiny wooden room, which he believes to be the entirety of the world (the truth, of course, is far more sinister). Donoghue will adapt her own novel for Element Pictures, with Irish director Lenny Abrahamson (“What Richard Did”) directing, and shooting tentatively scheduled for this time next year.
Last but not least, the enigmatically-named J. Blakeson, director of the little-seen but intensely creepy 2009 British kidnap thriller “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” has lined up his next project. Blakeson has tried to get various projects off the ground since ‘Creed,’ with all of them stalling in one way or another, so here’s hoping the latest one works out. It’s certainly a splashy, large-scale project. Blakeson will helm “The 5th Wave,” based on the critically acclaimed young adult sci-fi novel by Rick Yancey, about the aftermath of an alien invasion. While studio after studio has failed to get non-“Twilight,” non-“Hunger Games” YA material to work over the past couple of years (with “The Mortal Instruments” being the latest miss), it’s the kind of challenge a hungry young filmmaker like Blakeson can fully embrace and make his own; the adaptation will be produced by Sony Pictures, GK Films and Tobey Maguire‘s Material Pictures, from a script by “Erin Brockovich” screenwriter Susannah Grant. Hopefully will have better luck than Blakeson’s other post-‘Creed’ projects.
Additional reporting by Drew Taylor.